(TOLO News): Afghanistan’s First Lady Rula Ghani, while speaking at the US Institute of Peace in Washington DC on Thursday, said that the attempted prisoner swap for professors from the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) “did not work.”
“The situation is very complex…and, as you mentioned, it did not work,” Rula Ghani said in response to a question at the US Institute of Peace. “I am not quite sure why, but probably some party did not do what they promised they are going to do, so, unfortunately, the two professors may not be released.” “But this is what we are dealing with, this is the kind of people we have to negotiate with, and it’s really delicate,” she said. Kevin King, 63, from the US, and Timothy Weeks, 50, from Australia, were professors at AUAF who were abducted by the Haqqani Network in Kabul in August 2016. Her comments came after a source told TOLOnews on Thursday that the prisoner exchange of captured Haqqani Network members Anas Haqqani, Hafiz Rashid and Mali Khan for two kidnapped professors from the AUAF did not take place. Anas Haqqani, Hafiz Rashid and Haji Mali Khan, leaders of the Haqqani Network, were captured outside of Afghanistan in 2014. Four days earlier, President Ghani announced that the three Haqqani Network members would be “conditionally” released. According to a source who spoke with TOLOnews on Thursday, Anas Haqqani, Hafiz Rashid and Mali Khan have been transferred back to Bagram air base. In the meantime, First Lady Ghani also emphasized the need to negotiate a durable peace accord. “Peace is a long process,” she said. “Whoever thinks it can happen in one or two months is wrong. Even if happens, it will be short-lived.” “We want peace because the Taliban are Afghans and have the right to be in Afghanistan, but a Taliban rule is not going to happen, not on my watch. Not as long as my husband and I are there,” she said. She said that it’s the right of the people to live in peace and “I hope that—together—we bring peace in Afghanistan.” “Afghanistan is progressing, I am sure there is a lot that still needs to be done, but it’s progressing in the right direction and eventually it will become a good place to live,” she said.